VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — New Year’s Eve: the day we get rid of 2020.
We’ve been told that staying home is best — and there is a statewide curfew at midnight.
Still, some area businesses want residents to have some kind of fun to ring in 2021 and turn their backs on 2020 — safely.
For over 50 years, Tony Schmidt’s family has run a business at the corner of 21st Street and Pacific Avenue at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, the original site for the sub shop, Zero’s.
In 2012, Schmidt transformed that sub shop to the 21st Street Seafood Company. For eight years, business has been great.
“We started 2020 coming out of the gate strong. January and February, first part of March … and then corona[virus] came in. Just, bam,” he said.
There was a drop in sales, down 90%. From the COVID-19 shutdown, to the civil protests and more COVID-19 restrictions, keeping the restauarant open was a struggle. But he credits the government’s Paycheck Protection Program loans for his survival.
“It definitely helped us out. It saved our butts. Saved probably everybody’s butts down here at the Oceanfront,” he said.
It hasn’t been easy for Schmidt trying to follow all the new rules, such as social distancing, wearing masks and sticking to the health department guidelines.
“I would say the hardest part is keeping everybody safe, keeping everybody healthy, and keeping the doors open,” he said.
And with the new year just days away, how does he plan to ring in the new year?
“New Year’s Eve … the game plan is there is no game plan, unfortunately. We are just going to do business as usual service as usual and maybe a small champagne toast because we close at 10,” he said.
With no end in sight for the coronavirus restrictions in Virginia, Schmidt fears 2021 could be just as bad — and he worries of another shutdown.
“I worry about that every day. Every time the governor gets on TV, I definitely worry about what he is going to say,” Schmidt said.